Five Digital Tools for Pedagogy and Research

As the academic year tumbles to a close, I would like to use my final blog post to discuss five tools that have made the past semester a little less precarious. Certainly, there are more advanced tools available, and I hope you will share them via the Comments thread. However, for this post, I simply want to focus on tools that I regularly use and rely upon to save time and frustration (if only a little).


ImageA no-nonsense shortcut utility for the Mac, TextExpander ($25 edu) has taught me the virtues of automation. Designed around shortcuts (Abbreviations) and the texts they expand (Snippets), TextExpander allows you to supplement your desktop’s keyboard shortcuts and to build forms using a bevvy of customizable templates. These templates can be as simple as custom email signatures (available system-wide), tools for validating and truncating URLs (Internet Productivity Snippets), or, my favorite, Fill-ins, with which you can create forms around predefined selections (Popups) and open fields (Fill-ins). Fill-ins have already saved me hours in writing midterm and final grade reports. (Thanks to TextExpander’s Statistics feature, which tracks and visualizes usage, I can report that the utility has saved me more than a dozen hours this semester). Once I started thinking about my reports in terms of what could and could not be automated, I realized that much of what I write in my headers and footers can be accomplished using three or four different forms. By creating several such forms, I allow myself more time for rigorous reflections on student work.

ImageWhen it comes to managing that work, TurnItIn (pricing depends upon your institution) has changed the way I evaluate research papers. After discovering that Fordham offers a free license for educators, I decided to use it for my students’ first batch of longer essays. I had noticed that despite our conversations about integrating and introducing research, many of my students were playing it fast and lose with outside sources, and I feared that there might be instances of academic dishonesty. Previously, when I harbored such concerns, I manually searched for phrases that sounded misplaced, a time-consuming and incomplete process. With TurnItIn, you can either ask your students to submit papers through the website or you manually upload files. After a couple of minutes per paper, the site calculates the essay’s originality, providing a deceptively specific percentage of that paper’s derivation (given that it doesn’t parse quotations, it’s advisable that you not take the score too seriously and comb through the document yourself). I found that I could open each essay and see where it might be derivative. TurnItIn annotates the document and provides access to the sources of those annotations. (If the source isn’t available publically, TurnItIn allows you to request access). This semester TurnItIn helped me identify two instances of academic dishonesty, which, on my own, would have required hours of additional searching

ImageMy biggest time saving tool, however, has nothing to do with my teaching. When it comes to tracking, managing, and sharing citations, I cannot sing more loudly my praises of Zotero (free). Zotero lives where most of us begin our research: the web browser. While it was originally designed for Mozilla FireFox (where it still works best), you can also download the standalone application, connectors for Google Chrome and Apple Safari, and word processor plugins (for Microsoft Office and LibreOffice/OpenOffice). With JSTOR and WorldCat, Zotero boasts particularly thorough integration; of search results you can tick off articles whose bibliographic information and content (such as full-text PDFs) you want to save. You can access citations via the Zotero button in your browser, where you can create folder hierarchies, export citations in just about any style, or view downloaded PDFs. If you register for Zotero’s free synchronization service (Zotero Sync), you can even access your citations on other computers. By default, you’ll get one hundred megabytes of storage, more than enough for citations alone, but somewhat miserly for PDFs. (After archiving twenty journal articles with PDFs, I exhausted more than a third of the allotted storage). If, however, you intend to conduct your research from one desktop, however, your machine’s hard drive is your only limitation.

ImageFor stubbornly material resources, the latest version of Delicious Library ($25) tidies up everything on your bookshelf, including books, movies, albums, software, and gadgets. Adding items is easy. If it has a barcode, you can scan it using your desktop’s iSight camera or a barcode reader. I added the vast majority of my books using my MacBook’s webcam, but for editions that predate barcodes, I found that I could add them using keywords, authors, and titles. In addition to acting as my iTunes for everything outside iTunes, Delicious includes a particularly dulcet feature: Loans. You can check out books (or anything else) to anyone in your Contacts, and thanks to the software’s interoperation with Apple Calendar, you set and track due dates. Given that I’m constantly swapping books with friends, this feature applies as much to me as it does my peers. (You don’t keep friends by absconding with their books).

ImageI’ve saved my final tool until the end because it is a summer project unto itself. If Apple’s Pages is Microsoft Word with a fresh coat of paint, Literature & Latte’s Scrivener ($45 with a 15% edu) is a gut renovation. Based on the premise that long texts (e.g., chapters, dissertations, monographs) are comprised of short texts, Scrivener allows writers to collect research, write in smaller, modular texts, and to compile fragments into cohesive manuscripts that can be outputted in just about any imaginable format (form Word docs to ePubs). Whether you’re working on a novel or a recipe collection, Scrivener offers a template; alternatively, you can start Blank, just as you would a Word doc. The interface has three main components: the document at the center (Editor); metadata to the right (Inspector); and text hierarchy to the left (Binder). In the Binder, you can store drafts or just about any kind of research (PDFs, images, documents). Everything in Scrivener can be manipulated using drag and drop operations and a host of different views and layouts. What I like about Scrivener is that is meets me where I am. Although my diss chapter will become a single, continuous text (fingers crossed), it doesn’t start that way. Instead, Scrivener allows me to work in small chunks of text (paragraphs, sometimes more), and to synthetize them into a Word doc suitable for my readers.

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digital humanities + pedagogy: a companion

Imagevisualization: a glossary

  • metadata: information about information. You’ll use metadata to describe attributes of your items, like their dates of creatine, sizes, etc.
  • Dublin Core: a specific kind of metadata used by Omeka. Dublin Core keeps descriptions consistent.
  • omeka.net (compared to Omeka.org): there are two kinds of Omeka sites. Omeka.net is already hosted, meaning that you don’t have to install anything. Omeka.org is customizable, but you have to be comfortable installing Omeka on a server.
  • GIS (Geographic Information System): an integration of hardware, software, and data designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage and present all types of geographical data.  GIS is a “tool-centric” approach to digital mapping.
  • neogeography: combines the complex techniques of cartography and GIS and places them within reach of users. Neogeography is a “user-centric” approach to digital mapping.

    gamification: a glossary

  • achievements: accomplishments such as exemplary performance on specific assignments
  • add-ons: expansion packs that adds new material, such as additional stories, new areas of exploration, new items, or more levels.
  • avatar: the character a player directs through a game.
  • dungeons: complex spaces that must be explored before they can be unlocked.
  • Easter egg: a hidden feature of a game
  • extrinsic motivation: motivation by means of tangible rewards or pressures, rather than pleasure (e.g. intrinsic motivation).
  • game choice: the pedagogical model. Justin Hodgson argues that, more than course readings, game choice shapes “content, structure, assignments, [and] activities” (50). Hodgson borrowed his Quest Line structure from World of Warcraft, whereas Benjamin Miller modeled his class on the gameplay of Legend of Zelda.
  • Game Master: the person who acts as an organizer, authority of rules, arbitrator, and moderator for a multiplayer game. Lee Sheldon discusses how a Game Master isn’t necessarily synonymous with a Game Designer: “A teacher need not be a game designer to be a Game Master, but, in most case, must be the Game Master. Just as you are in charge of the development, you continue to be in charge of the classroom” (220).
  • gamification: the application of game mechanics to non-game activities.
  • gild: a community in a role-playing game. Guilds can be comprised of any number of players, depending upon common goals and play style of the game.
  • hack: a clever or quick fix to a problem. It can also refer to a modification that allows users access to otherwise unavailable features (which might give the player an unfair advantage over opponents). McKenzie Wark wrote the book (A Hacker Manifesto) on it.
  • level chart: allows players to see one another’s scores. Scores are sometimes posted anonymously; other times, Game Masters use avatars to induce competition.
  • postmortem: a game development term, borrowed from medical examiners. In the game development, a game’s features, design, and development are autopsied. In a class, the corpse is the class itself. Teachers often schedule a postmortem for the last session to create a space for conversation about what worked and what didn’t.
  • quest: the levels through which players acquire skills.
  • random factor: ensures that the outcomes of player choices are not always predictable. Some teachers integrate dice to randomize groupings of students into GILDS, for example.
  • scaffolded instruction: guides students from smaller, simpler skills, to larger, more complicated ones.
  • stuckpoints: a term coined by Peter Elbow as a way of recasting failures as essential to writing development.
  • walkthrough: a step-by-step guide to obstacles, puzzles, or bosses. Players create walkthroughs for other players.

    gamification: related concepts

  • active learning: “experiencing the world in new ways, forming new affiliations, and preparation for future learning” (Gee 23).
  • critical learning: “learning to thinking of semiotic domains as design spaces that manipulate us in certain ways and that we can manipulate in certain ways” (Gee 43).
  • semiotic domains: “any set of practices that recruits one or more modalities to communicate distinctive types of meaning” (Gee 18).
  • multimodality: “In multimodal texts (texts that mix words and images), the images often communicate different things from the words. And the combination of the two modes communicates things that neither of the modes does separately. Thus, the idea of different sorts of multimodal literacy seems an important one. Both modes and multimodality go far beyond images and words to include sounds, music, movement, bodily sensations, and smells” (Gee 14).
  • disruption: somewhere between intervention and subversion, a “creative act that shifts the way a particular logic or paradigm is operating” (Flanagan12)
  • intervention: a specific types of subversion that relies upon direct action and engagement with political or social issues, a “‘stepping in,’ or interfering in any affair, so as to affect its course or issue’” (Flanagan 11).
  • subversion: “the turning of a thing upside down or uprooting it from its position; overturning, upsetting; overthrow of a law, rule, system, condition” (OED).

    gamification: a bibliography

  • Alberti, John. “The Game of Reading and Writing: How Video Games. Reframe Our Understanding of Literacy.” Computers and Composition 25.3 (2008): 258–269. Print.
  • Bogost, Ian. “Gamification Is Bullshit.” Ian Bogost. Web. 8 Apr. 2014.
  • Bogost, Ian. How to Do Things with Videogames. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2011. Print.
  • Colby, Richard and Rebekah Shultz Colby. “A Pedagogy of Play: Integrating Computer Games into the Writing Classroom.” Computers and Composition 25.3 (2008): 300-312. Print.
  • Dignan, Aaron. Game Frame: Using Games as a Strategy for Success. New York: Free Press, 2011. Print.
  • Elbow, Peter. Writing without Teachers. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998. Print.
  • Flanagan, Mary. Critical Play: Radical Game Design. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2009. Print.
  • Hodgson, Justin. “Developing and Extending Gaming Pedagogy: Designing a Course as Game.” Eds. Colby, Richard, and John Alberti. Rhetoric/ Composition/play through Video Games: Reshaping Theory and Practice of Writing. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003. 45-62. Print.
  • Gee, James Paul. What Video Games Have to Teach Us about Learning and Literacy. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007. Print.
  • Juul, Jesper. The Art of Failure: An Essay on the Pain of Playing Video Games. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2013. Print.
  • McGonigal, Jane. Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World. New York: Penguin Group, 2011. Print.
  • Miller, Benjamin. “Metaphor, Writer’s Block, and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Writing Process.” Eds. Colby, Richard, and John Alberti. Rhetoric/ Composition/play through Video Games: Reshaping Theory and Practice of Writing. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003. 99-112. Print.
  • Sheldon, Lee. The Multiplayer Classroom Designing Coursework as a Game. Boston: Course Technology/Cengage Learning, 2012. Print.
  • Kapp, Karl M. The Gamification of Learning and Instruction: Game-Based Methods and Strategies for Training and Education. San Francisco: Pfeiffer, 2012. Print.
  • Wark, McKenzie. A Hacker Manifesto. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2004. Print.

Of Lobotomy, Narrative, and Interface

ImageWhen I registered for a dinner discussion with Miriam Posner at Fordham University’s Lincoln Center campus, I did not expect brains would be on the menu. Posner’s talk, an aperitif to her forthcoming book, Depth Perception: Narrative and the Body in American Medical Filmmaking (under contract with University of North Carolina Press), lingered on early twentieth-century lobotomies, as participants raised pointed questions about the process and documentation of Walter Freeman’s many lobotomies (reference The Lobotomy Letters or The Lobotomy Files). Yet, despite the curiosity of these surgeries, lobotomies provided but a frontal lobe to Posner’s expansive presentation. As the title of her talk suggests, “Thinking Through and with Text: Designing Digital Humanities Scholarship for the Screen” was as much about how scholars today re-present scholarship via electronic platforms as it was about how surgeons captured and represented bodies in medical films. With this post, I want to raise two related questions that, in the second half of the conversation, divided participants: What should a user interface do, and what is its relation to a narrative?

Posner discussed a number of existing digital projects that showcase the “affordances and opportunities of digital publishing.” She described the Negro Travelers’ Green Book Map in relation to three main considerations: sources, processing, and presentation. Beginning with the Green Book, a directory of “safe” destinations for African American travelers during the Jim Crow era (source), scholars scanned, geo-located, and built a database of destinations (processing), and mapped and made that data searchable (presentation). While the Green Book Map was a crowd-pleaser, subsequent projects tested the audience’s open-mindedness about interface design. For example, Posner introduced the multimodal journal Vectors. In concept, the audience embraced the proposition (judging by head nodding), but as soon as Posner opened the Vectors editors’ statement, brows furrowed. Here was a page that purported to speak (a statement of intent), but that required the user to pose a question (a keyword search). What did readers have to do to access the entire statement? Whereas some members of the audience rejoiced in the “problem” that the code suggested, others simply wanted to read to the statement. A glance at N. Katherine Hayles’ Narrating Bits exacerbated the divide. One participant asked, “Who uses it?” “What if interfaces aren’t for use, but for something else entirely?” Posner rejoined.

We discussed several other projects that underscored the diverse uses of digital interfaces. Whereas The New York Times’ Snow Fallemploys an immersive interface that absorbs the reader in a multimedia report on an avalanche, Eric Loyer’s Freedom’s Ring (built in Scalar, the new Vectors’ CMS) enables readers to either follow a prescribed narrative or chart their own paths through its nodes. The defamiliarizing interface of Whitney Trettien’s Plant -> Animal -> Book, meanwhile, requires readers to explore content—and the act of reading—associatively.

If one takes seriously the proposition that user interfaces are more than transparent views of content (Johanna Drucker), Posner’s talk underscores the potential of interfaces to function as windows, walls, mazes, and gateways. I want to think about the relation of interfaces to narratives. Like many students of the humanities, I enjoy a good story. The question is whether writers or scholars ought to, given the availability of flexible electronic platforms, enable readers to construct their own narratives by means of different interfaces.

In our conversation with Miriam Posner, several participants argued interfaces are inherently coercive because they require somatic engagement with prescribed routes (e.g., Scalar’s linking and forking paths). However, I fail to see how the narrative of a digital text is any more coercive than that of certain print novels. The frustration that participants expressed about their inability to read the Vectors editors’ statement is not unlike from the frustration readers value in difficult novels such as Gravity’s Rainbow, Finnegan’s Wake, and Pale Fire. We prize the challenges of those novels and how they coerce us into becoming conscious of how we read.

The issue, as I see it, is not that digital texts are inherently more coercive than print counterparts, but rather that they provide an illusion of control. This issue is only a problem if the reader is recast as writer. Electronic interfaces are worth evaluating critically because they enable writers to cast the seedlings of multiple simultaneous narratives. Interfaces that allow readers to chart different paths through content (such as those built with Scalar) may not allow readers to inscribe their own narratives, but they enable readers to discover other narrative germinations. Those discoveries, coerced as they may be, belong to readers in much the same way as does understanding wrested from an oblique print narrative. In this context, perhaps interface will entangle with narrative and the act of reading, its form, akin to the human brain, replete with unseen passageways, unexpected barriers, and unforeseeable possibilities.

The Future of the Humanities and the (Semi)Public Intellectual

Conversations about the future of humanities tend to follow a predictable recipe: begin with a spoonful of anxiety (see also: fear, despair); add a smattering of nostalgia (for a bygone era when distinguished faculty members landed their first jobs); bring to boil under a fire of realism (kindled by junior faculty); and garnish with pride (enjoyed by all).

Peter Brooks’ seminar at Fordham University’s Lincoln Center campus was one of the more unpredictable conversations I have attended on the future of the humanities, aided in no small part by Brooks’ superb book, Humanities in Public Life, and an eclectic cadre of graduate students, faculty, deans, administration, and interlocutors from business, law, and the sciences. While the contours of conversation adhered to the aforementioned recipe, we cooked up two ostensibly different dishes: The humanities are an island, in the parlance of one participant, to be preserved; and the humanities are a perch, from which its advocates infiltrate and affect other modes of discourse. I intend to use this post to explore how such goals are not mutually exclusive by placing the future of the humanities in dialogue with the (semi)public intellectual.

No, I’m not going to talk about Nicholas Kristof’s article about why academics are “irrelevant,” Corey Robin’s and Laura Tanenbaum’s rebuttals, or Joshua Rothman’s alternative assessment. You’ve read those pieces already, and if you haven’t, you’ve heard enough about them. Rather, I want to think about how the Brooks’ island/perch divide relates to a particularly generative panel on public intellectualism at the 2014 MLA Convention.

The panel The Semipublic Intellectual? Academia, Criticism, and the Internet Age exemplified MLA’s vibrant DH presence. Attracting a capacity audience, with onlookers spilling into the hallway, this roundtable assembled a diverse panel to discuss the lived experience of scholarship and digital publication. For several panelists in particular, public engagement provides both a reprieve from and complement to their humanities “day jobs.”

As an Assistant Professor of Film and Media Studies at Whitman College, Anne Helen Petersen entered the public fray to compensate for the solitude of studying for comps. Her blog, Celebrity Gossip, Academic Style, applies historical and theoretical understandings to celebrity culture. Blog posts range from musings on celebrity scandal (with the touchstones of Miley Cirus and Chris Brown) to Beyoncé’s unsettling feminism. Petersen argued that one way that humanities scholars can intervene in the outside world—and to promote humanistic values—is to demonstrate that they have “smart things to say about things we encounter each and every day.”

Hua Hsu, an Assistant Professor of English at Vassar College, admits that he couldn’t have finished graduate school without writing for public outlets. Contributing to ESPN, Slate, and The Atlantic enables Hsu to embrace new vocabularies and humors, to pursue different research questions, and to make money. For example, Hsu reflects on the sorry state of the NFL as a Grantland staff member, reviews Sianne Ngai as a Slate contributor, and puts The Simpsons in conversation with Ai Weiwei as an Atlantic author. In posts, he brings his humanities work into the public sphere (e.g. Ngai), whereas in other pieces, the two cross-pollinate (Simpsons and Ai Weiwei). Hsu seems to relish the creative tensions between journalists and academics. In his talk, he explained that online writing better connected him with editors and readers than his academic scholarship.

Despite the salubrious effects of public engagement on his academic writing, Hsu admitted that he kept his public work separate, even “secret,” from his institution. Salamishah Tillet, an Associate Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania, has also written publicly, in private. Tillet has written about domestic violence and George Zimmerman for The Nation and black feminism (and Tyler Perry) for The Root, and she’s even visited MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry to discuss race relations and abortion politics. Although she’s more comfortable occupying the role of public intellectual today, as a graduate student, Tillet didn’t tell her advisors about her activist writings for fear that she wouldn’t be regarded as a “serious scholar.” If, as Tillet observes, the mandate of a scholar is to act as a cultural worker, institutions ought to embrace semi-public intellectualism because it enables scholars to occupy multiple communities simultaneously and to make humanist arguments to wider audiences.

Each panelist models a both/and approach to straddling the island/perch divide. Certainly, I don’t mean to suggest that semi-public contortions are easy. As evident from the closeted writings of Hsu, Tillet, and Petersen, departments still may not know how to evaluate such engagement. Moreover, writing for a wider public entails subjecting oneself to wider scrutiny, placing texts at greater risk of being read out of context.

Natalia Cecire, a Postdoctoral Fellow of English at Yale University, explained how she began blogging as a means of controlling her online identity (in Cecire’s words, “I have an incredibly Google-able name”). However, when she wrote a skeptical post about statistics wunderkind Nate Silver, she found her online identity—as well as her sex and race—assaulted by young economists who rejected the very notion that the humanities could make knowledge claims. In the words of Cecire, “The audience you’re writing for isn’t necessarily the audience you get.”

Public intellectualism can hurt, but if scholars are serious about charting a path forward for the humanities, these panelists model the courage and entrepreneurship necessary to preserve the island and to expand its terrain.

DH @ MLA: Material Times

mla2014-logoLet’s get this out of the way: The 2014 MLA Convention was a somber and sobering affair. Admittedly, it was my first MLA, and I may need more time to thaw to its formalities. Perhaps its location, post-polar vortex Chicago, also cast chills through convention halls. One thing is certain: The theme of “Vulnerable Times” did not assuage job seekers or those preparing to weather the academic job market. Across the Sheraton lobby and Twittersphere, MLA Executive Director Rosemary Feal’s declaration that “the academic job market has never been as dire” drowned out Marianne Hirsch’s presidential address.

Yet, in contrast to the somber diagnosis for the humanities writ large, Digital Humanities panels were (quite literally) hot—prolific and packed to capacity. Of the dozen or so DH or DH-related panels I attended, about half were at capacity, with onlookers spilling into the hallways. Given the buzz about DH, convention planners could have anticipated interest and granted more capacious rooms, but even those panels situated in the most cavernous spaces, such as “Digital Humanities from the Ground Up,” ran out of seats.

Rather than summarize panels that incubated such feverish attention—a task that would ask great patience from my readers—I will select a handful of talks that highlight something of a theme across Digital Humanities panels: materiality.

Many presenters considered the materiality of ephemeral objects. In his talk on the vulnerability of born-digital literature, John Zuern, Associate Professor of English at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, argued that scholars must embrace curatorial practices when studying such texts. A medium-sensitive version of surface reading could attend not only to meaning but function—how born-digital texts work—to ensure future readability. On the topic of surface reading, Professor of Comparative Literature at Penn State Eric Hayot challenged traditional categories. “Close reading is not always close,” claimed Hayot. “Distant reading is not so distant.” By conceptualizing literature as information, scholars can disrupt categories and understand rhetorical devices as data that requires abstraction. Using her Between Page and Screen project, Amaranth Borsuk, Senior Lecturer in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at the University of Washington Bothel, discussed how texts could be abstracted via augmented reality: As the function of texts change, so, too, do our roles as readers.

Others sought to materialize code. Given that comments in code are textually indeterminate, at the “threshold of performance and script,” Rachael Sullivan, a Doctoral Candidate in the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee English Ph.D. program, argued that scholars ought to approach the materiality of writing on several registers: the writing medium, practice, and body. Columbia University Professor of English and Comparative Literature Sharon Marcus discussed her experience with her students using TEI to mark up marginalia on Melville’s Benito Cereno. While her class struggled with markup, they developed a shared vocabulary (for markup) and new ways of interfacing with the text.

Many panelists discussed how material projects enabled them to integrate DH into classrooms. In a special session on “Critical Making,” Dene Grigar, Associate Professor and Director of The Creative Media & Digital Culture Program at Washington State University Vancouver, introduced critical making as “research through design,” or projects on which students and faculty could collaborate outside fixed university structures. Critical making projects ranged from rebuilding automobiles to mapping historical sites. Jentery Sayers, an Assistant Professor of English and Director of the Maker Lab in the Humanities at the University of Victori, discussed Kits of Cultural History, which seeks to reconstruct historical experiments in technology and science to promote materialist approaches to technology and cultural criticism in the humanities. Kim Knight, Assistant Professor of Emerging Media and Communication at University of Texas at Dallas, introduced her project, Fashioning Circuits, through which students used sewing machines and circuitry to create wearable tech. Rather than promoting DIY spirit, students mastered what Knight called a DWO, or Doing It With Others philosophy.

Sociability was a common thread of DH projects. In A Beautiful Social Collaborative, Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at Saint Joseph’s University Aimée Knight sought to cultivate tech literacy by sending her students into Philadelphia to help small businesses build social networking presences. Matt Gold, Associate Professor of English and Digital Humanities at City Tech and the CUNY Graduate Center, and Emily Sherwood, a Doctoral Candidate in the Ph.D. program, discussed Just Publics @ 365, which paired CUNY’s Commons in a Box with community engagement in East Harlem. Northeastern University graduate students Benjamin Doyle and Kristi Girdharry presented Around DH in 80s Days, through which graduate students at Northeastern University are collecting DH projects from across the globe.

In a convention organized around vulnerability (thematically but in some ways empirically), the Digital Humanities were material, social, and hopeful. For my next blog post, I will return to the issue of sociability at MLA: The role of academics as (semi)public intellectuals.